How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

Proposals can be nerve-racking.

Not only do you want the moment to be special, but there’s also the added pressure of whether your partner will say yes or no.

Hopefully you’re pretty confident about the answer, but do you know what kind of ring they’d prefer?

Unless they keep a secret wedding ring collage on Pinterest or you’re buddies with their best friend, it can be a tricky one to figure out.

Furthermore, there’s the question of money – and how much one should spend on a ring their partner will wear forever.

People are divided on the topic, as can be seen in popular ring shaming groups on Facebook.

One woman was mocked for her ‘tiny’ wedding ring, while another was told her rose quartz stone piece looked like ‘a pimple popper blister’.

Another poor bride-to-be was shamed for having been given a ring that resembled a ‘prolapsed butthole’ – ouch.

Tradition dictates that someone must spend at least three months’ salary on the ring, but this could vary dramatically depending on how much a person earns.

However, experts say that there’s a new trend among couples, with most spending around a month’s salary.

‘We find that while some people are fairly traditional and try to stand by the three-months-wage rule, the amount couples are prepared to spend on a ring in recent months has actually mellowed out quite significantly to around a month’s salary – perhaps to allow more budget for things such as the wedding itself, or instead putting the money saved towards a house deposit,’ said Craig Bolton, executive director at Goldsmiths.

‘That said, there are still those who go above and beyond when it comes to getting engaged, and we have found that a number of our customers are keen to spend up to a year’s salary on the ring.

‘While we encourage those planning to pop the question to find a ring that they know their other half would wear with pride, it’s important to set yourself a feasible budget too and not do anything too extravagant just because you believe that is what others expect of you.

‘One thing we have found, which has certainly increased of late, is that a few of our customers are actually now using “place holder” rings, and then coming in to store with their other half post proposal to pick out a ring together.

‘In fact, in a recent survey we ran, we found that almost a third of UK consumers would be prepared to pay the difference for the engagement ring they actually want.

Engagement ring trends for 2019

  • Within engagement rings we are seeing a slight shift back to the classics and more delicate styles are peaking among UK consumers.
  • Practicality has been a key concern for some time now, and that is certainly still the case for 2019 – designs that can be worn in hands on jobs or at the gym are very popular.
  • There has been a noticeable increase in queries around the ethical aspects of rings (such as whether a diamond has been ethically and sustainably sourced), especially from younger generations.
  • Engagement rings with more than one stone are now much sought after, and it seems three is the magic number (the additional stones are not necessarily always diamonds) – halo rings are also increasingly popular.
  • In regards to metal, of course it is always down to personal taste, however, for 2019, yellow gold is a popular choice among our customers.

Source: Goldsmiths

It’s not just personal preference or tradition that influences how much people spend on engagement rings.

External factors, such as the state of the economy, can also play a part.

Research from Protect Your Bubble, released in July 2018, revealed that spending declined during Brexit with an average spend of £785, while in 2018 there was a major boost as that figure rose to £1,483.

‘Depending on who you speak to you will often hear that you should spend one to three months’ salary on an engagement ring, but I have to say we’re not too sure this flies anymore,’ Tim Ingle, co-founder of Ingle and Rhode, tells

‘We’ve found that couples’ priority is no longer how much a ring costs, but where the ring has come from. People care about quality and provenance over cost, and young couples have different priorities now, which don’t necessarily centre around money but sustainability and ethics.

‘As consumers become increasingly aware of issues such as climate change and plastic pollution, they’re looking to behave and shop more sustainably; and this definitely feeds into the purchase of something as important as a wedding or engagement ring.

‘Couples would rather know that the diamond in their ring is conflict-free, or the gold is recycled or Fairtrade, rather than know that it cost them a certain number of months’ salary.

‘People are willing to pay for sustainability if neccessary, but to use one to three months’ salary as a ballpark is unrealistic and outdated. Ultimately, consumers should spend what they’re comfortable with, and what they can afford, in line with their wider priorities and ethical principles.

‘We’ve noticed a real trend for traceable diamond engagement rings as a result, as truly ethical diamonds can be traced right back to their mine of origin, so customers know that their diamond is 100% conflict-free.

‘Rose gold is also proving extremely popular at the moment, perhaps because a wealth of celebrities have gone for pink and rose gold engagement rings this year, which seems to have reignited their popularity.’

You’ve heard from the experts – now let’s see what the public thinks.

We did a quick poll and almost half of those who voted agreed that less than £1,000 is a perfectly acceptable amount to spend on an engagement ring.

Meanwhile, 21% agreed one month’s salary is fine, and 15% agreed on three months’ salary or anything over £1,000, respectively.

‘Definitely whatever you can afford – it’s not the price of the ring that showcases people’s love, it’s all the little things each of you do for each other that no one else sees!,’ one person commented.

You know, she’s not wrong.

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